Exercise intensity modulates nitric oxide and blood pressure responses in hypertensive older women

Aging Clin Exp Res. 2013 Apr;25(1):43-8. doi: 10.1007/s40520-013-0017-x. Epub 2013 Mar 27.


Background and aims: Whether intensity or other characteristics of physical activity can better promote the release of nitric oxide (NO) and reduction of blood pressure in hypertensive older-adults is still unknown. In this study, the post-exercise blood pressure (BP) response and NO release after different intensities of aerobic exercise in elderly women were analyzed.

Methods: Blood pressure response and NO were analyzed in 23 elderly mildly hypertensive women. Participants underwent (1) high-intensity incremental exercise (IT); (2) moderate-intensity 20 min exercise at 90% of the anaerobic threshold (AT), and (3) control (CONT) session. BP was measured before and after interventions; volunteers remained seated for 1 h. NO estimates were made through NO2- analyses.

Results: After CONT session, both diastolic BP and mean arterial pressure (MAP) were significantly higher than during pre-exercise resting. Post-exercise hypotension (PEH) was observed after exercise at IT and 90% of AT. Although exercise in both sessions lowered SBP and MAP compared with CONT, exercise at the highest intensity (IT) was more effective on lowering systolic BP after exercise. In comparison with pre-exercise resting, NO2- increased significantly only after IT, but both exercise sessions caused NO2- to increase compared with CONT.

Conclusion: Exercise intensity and NO release may exert a role in eliciting PEH in mildly hypertensive elderly women.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Blood Pressure*
  • Exercise / physiology*
  • Exercise Test
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertension / physiopathology*
  • Nitric Oxide / metabolism*


  • Nitric Oxide